We Believe

...along with Brother Lawrence and many other saints and teachers of the Christian tradition, that the practice of the presence of God is of the utmost importance. As St. Faustyna Kowalska said, "Jesus is anxious to help that soul...it can very soon attain the highest holiness possible for a creature here on earth.." Indeed, "Faithfulness to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit – that is the shortest route" to holiness! (Divine Mercy in My Soul, par. 291)


"For many times when they were reviled, insulted, stripped naked, scourged, bound or imprisoned, they would not avail themselves of any one's protection, but bore all so bravely that the voice of praise and thanksgiving alone sounded in their mouth. Scarcely, or not at all, did they cease from praising God and from prayer."
(The First Life of St. Francis, Thomas of Celano, par. 40) 

Concerning the early Franciscans: 
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Daily devotion to, and the experience of the Holy Spirit's anointing is essential. This comes about through praise, the highest form of prayer (because it is entirely focused on God Himself)...it is what the angels and saints do forever in Heaven. 

God always attends praise from the heart with His anointed presence: "But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel." (Psalm 22:3)
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Lectio Divina

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How much time do we spend reading and meditating on Scripture each day? How much time do we spend in silence, waiting for His voice, after we read it, pray and voice all our concerns to God? There are some powerful steps to entering communion with God through this lectio divina, or "holy reading" of Scripture mixed with prayer and contemplation:
(Call upon the Holy Spirit)
(1) Lectio
(2) Meditatio
(3) Oratio
(4) Contemplatio
(5) Actio
(Call upon the Holy Spirit, Who breathes life into us to receive His Word. Best to do praise and worship and prayer in the Spirit)
(1) Lectio. Read the passage of Scripture with an open heart to what God is saying.
(2) Meditatio. Meditate, or ponder in the heart (Luke 2:19), "what is God saying to me today?" Maybe there is a particular word or phrase that sticks out to us.
Witness Example: once, Lee Anne was meditating on the word, "therefore," as appears in Scripture so many times. She did not understand why this word had stood out to her. After 3 weeks (!) of meditating, waiting in silence and asking "what are You saying to me, Lord?" one day she heard her own voice, in her spirit, saying to God, "what did You send me up THERE FOR?" It was a revelation (Gal. 1:11-12) from the Lord! She realized that she had been upset with the Lord for sending her as a missionary to a town that she absolutely did not like. Of course, God later revealed His will and plan through a huge move of the Spirit in the life of the local priest and the parish...but at the time, she was upset! And, she didn't fully realize it! Thank God that He knows our own hearts better than we do- but it takes the Word ("sharper than a two-edged sword" Heb. 4:12) to pry it out of us.
(3) Oratio. If Lee Anne had stopped when she received the revelation of what "therefore" meant, it would not have been able to move any deeper. This is the prayer stage, where we pray with our hearts using what God is saying to us in Scripture. It is a "prayerful response" to what we are getting in the Bible.
(4) Contemplatio. "Contemplative prayer is silence...or 'silent love'...like kindling that feeds the fire of love." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2717). This is where we wait in silence; God has spoken in His Word, we have considered it and responded in faith and prayer- now we wait for what God may further reveal, or expand on His Word. It is a quiet hoping: "But they that hope in the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall take wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said the following:
“I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio Divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart [cf. Dei Verbum, n. 25]. If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church – I am convinced of it – a new spiritual springtime.” (link)
Wow! He also added, together with St. Ignatius Loyola, a fifth step to lectio, which is:
(5) Actio. "Faith without deeds is dead." (James 2:14) If we do not change according to what God is saying, the entire prayer exercise was useless! We need to respond in prayer, but also in action, as John the Baptist said, "bring forth fruits worthy of repentance." (Matt. 3:8) If God is speaking to us about forgiveness, we need to forgive, about the poor, we need to do something for someone in need, etc.
NB: the daily readings of the Church (esp. the Gospel) are a great choice for daily Scripture. Another option is to do a Scripture study of some kind- e.g. if you need peace, do a study of all the Scripture verses on "peace," and find out its true meaning, etc.


Coupled with lectio divina, the prayerful reading of the Scriptures, praise and worship can act as dynamite for any spiritual life: "Praise embraces the other forms of prayer and carries them toward him who is its source and goal," the Father. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2639) Experiencing the anointing of the Holy Spirit through praise and worship, and listening to God in daily Scripture meditation, makes the sacraments come alive with greater meaning and efficacy, as these forms of prayer activate the heart. 

Without a personal revelation of God, all religious activities are useless!
"For neither did I receive it of man, nor did I learn it; but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1:12)  

Praise and worship to come under a daily anointing, and meditation on the Scriptures (especially the four "healing Gospels") bring transformation to the soul during an intimate communion between God and ourselves each day as we enter His Word in prayer. 

Lee Anne's testimony: "How Praying for the Anointing of the Holy Spirit and Reading Scripture Changed My Life"  




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